Spain: Requirements and procedures for obtaining a birth certificate, including hospital and other births; whether delays of issuance have occurred over time and why; requirements and procedures for replacing a birth certificate; samples (2011–September 2021) [ESP200812.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

This Response to Information Request replaces ESP200759 of September 2021.

1. Requirements and Procedures for Obtaining a Birth Certificate

According to the Ministry of Justice, a birth certificate may be requested by mail, electronically, or in person (Spain n.d.a). The same source indicates that a birth certificate can be obtained in person by submitting a form "at the Civil Register in which the birth was registered" [1] with the individual's name, surnames, date and place of birth, and National Identification Card (Documento Nacional de Identidad, DNI) (Spain n.d.a). The same source states that a birth certificate can also be obtained by mailing the form to the Civil Register with the individual's name, last names, date, and place of birth, and by indicating which type of birth certificate is needed: literal [literal], extract [extracto or certificación del acta de nacimiento], or negative [negativo] (Spain n.d.a). The Ministry of Justice also indicates that a birth certificate can be both requested and obtained electronically if the Civil Register has digitized its records and if the birth occurred "after 1950" [2]; for a digital birth certificate, "additional checks need to be carried out," and the applicant "must have a digital certificate to identify him/herself" (Spain n.d.d). According to Traductor Jurado, a translation firm with legal translators certified by Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación) (Traductor Jurado n.d.), [translation] "it is very important" to request a birth certificate at the Civil Register office in the town of birth, whether or not the individual still resides in that town (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019).

According to Traductor Jurado, the [translation] "extract" is "much quicker" to obtain than the "literal" birth certificate (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019). Information from April 2020 from Registro Civil Trámites, a private company providing civil registry request services in Spain (Registro Civil Trámites n.d.), states that every location [translation] "has different issuance times," although 5 to 7 days is "normal" (Registro Civil Trámites 22 Apr. 2020). The same source notes that it [translation] "usually takes longer" in the Central Civil Register and consulates due to "the great demand" by "those born abroad" (Registro Civil Trámites 22 Apr. 2020). According to Evergration, a private company that provides apostille and documentation services for individuals and corporations, a full birth certificate can take them "between three and six weeks" to issue and "up to 8 weeks" in "rare cases" (Evergration n.d.). Aguia Tramites, a law firm that specializes in immigration procedures in Spain and Brazil (Aguia Tramites n.d.a), indicates that their [translation] "estimated delivery time" for birth certificates is 15 to 21 business days, or 4 to 11 days for "emergencies" (Aguia Tramites n.d.b). Traductor Jurado indicates that a birth certificate requested by mail takes them [translation] "about" two weeks (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019). Spain's Ministry of Justice states that "all the proceedings of the Civil Registry" are free (Spain n.d.e)

1.1 Hospital Births

The information in the following paragraph was provided by the Consulate of Spain in Montreal in correspondence with the Research Directorate:

Birth certificates are "never issued" in hospitals in Spain. The hospitals have 72 hours after a birth takes place to inform the Civil Register. If a birth is "not communicated" to a hospital within 72 hours, the parents or relatives of the child have 10 days to "declare the birth" at the Civil Register. The "time span between the inscription of the birth" at the Civil Register and the "issuance" of the birth certificate depends on the "workload of every [Civil Register] office." If a birth was not registered within the "aforementioned terms, it is necessary to start an inscripción fuera de plazo (late inscription) file." Consulates do not carry out late inscription for individuals born outside of Spain, as local authorities are responsible for processing late inscriptions; however, Consulates do "transcribe" the certificates issued by local authorities (Spain 16 Sept. 2021a).

1.2 Types of Birth Certificates

The Ministry of Justice lists the following types of birth certificates on its website:

[translation]

  1. Positive [Birth] Certificate:
    • Extract: … a summary of the information … as it appears in the Civil Register.
      • Ordinary: … issued in Spanish in … autonomous communities in which the only official language is Spanish.
      • International or multilingual: … issued in the official language of each of the signatory countries of [the Vienna Convention of 1976] …
      • Bilingual: … issued in Spanish and in the official language of the autonomous community in which it is issued.
    • Literal: a literal copy of the registration of the birth, containing all the data related to the identity of the individual and to the birth itself.
  2. Negative [Birth] Certificate certifies that an individual has not been registered at that Civil Register.
  3. Certification with a digital stamp from the Department of Registers and Notaries: … serves as proof of the data contained in the computerised and digitised register entries made since 1950 in the Municipal Civil Registers or in the Central Civil Register. … (Spain n.d.a)

The Consulate of Spain in Montreal indicated that there is "only one type " of birth certificate "valid" in Spain and that there are no regional variations in the format (Spain 16 Sept. 2021a). English and French translations of a sample of the extract (Attachment 1) and a sample of the literal birth certificate (Attachment 2), provided on the website of Certificados.pro, a Spanish company the specializes in obtaining Spanish identity documents (Certificados.pro n.d.), are attached to this Response.

Abogado Amigo, a law firm in Spain (Abogado Amigo n.d.), states that a birth certificate is [translation] "required" for "all" procedures that "require accreditation" of birth (Abogado Amigo 8 Sept. 2014). The Consulate of Spain in Montreal stated that a literal birth certificate is needed to "update the information on the legal status of an individual" when renewing a passport (Spain 28 July 2021). According to the website of the Consulate General of Spain in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a literal birth certificate is part of the [translation] "requirements" to apply for the "first passport," while the DNI is the only identification "requirement" for passport renewals (Spain 23 June 2021). Evergration notes that a [literal] birth certificate might be needed to apply for marriage licenses, police certificates, insurance, employment, personal identification, and/or visas (Evergration n.d.).

1.3 Contents of a Birth Certificate

The Ministry of Justice states that a birth certificate includes the following information:

[translation]

  • The Register, indicating the municipality and province of its location; and, in the case of the Consular Registers, the town and country. …
  • The identity of the registered individual …
  • The page and book of the entry, or the corresponding page and file.
  • The date, name and signature of the certifying Registrar, Acting Registrar or Secretary, and the office seal. In the case of a digital stamp from the Department of Registers and Notaries, information will be included on the secure certification code, the procedure for verifying the content of the document issued and the date of issue. (Spain n.d.a)

For further information regarding the contents of a literal or extract birth certificate, see the English and French translations of a sample of the extract (Attachment 1) and a sample of the literal birth certificate (Attachment 2) attached to this Response.

2. Requirements and Procedures for Replacing a Lost or Stolen Birth Certificate

The Consulate of Spain in Montreal stated that the requirements and procedures to replace a lost or stolen birth certificate are the same as to make an initial application [see section 1 of this Response] (Spain 28 July 2021). According to the website of the Consulate General of Spain in Santo Domingo, to replace a lost, stolen, or [translation] "deteriorated" passport, the "original" DNI is required "if it has been issued previously" (Spain 23 June 2021). The same source indicates that an [translation] "original and valid Spanish birth certificate" is required for "minors or those born outside Spain after 1985" (Spain 23 June 2021).

3. Requirements and Procedures for Obtaining a Birth Certificate Later in Life

The Consulate of Spain in Montreal stated that a birth certificate can be obtained later in life if an individual has a "personal, direct, and legitimate interest in it" in the same way as an initial application [see section 1 of this Response] (Spain 28 July 2021). The website of the Consulate of Spain in Los Angeles notes that while "no time frame exists" for registering a birth at the Civil Registry, it is "recommended" that the birth is registered "as soon as possible" (Spain n.d.f). According to the website of the Consulate General of Spain in Toronto, if a child is the second generation in their family to be born abroad and has not signed an Act of Conservation (Acta de Conservación) for their Spanish nationality [translation] "within a period of 3 years" of turning 18 years of age, the child will "lose, in any case, [their] Spanish citizenship" (Spain 22 May 2018). In a telephone interview with the Consulate of Spain in Montreal, a representative from the Civil and Nationality Registry (Registro Civil y Nacionalidad) provided the following information: [translation]

  • An individual who is born in Spain, or a foreign-born individual (non-native Spaniard) whose parents are born in Spain (native Spaniards), that loses their Spanish citizenship (ex. by acquiring another nationality and not requesting the conservation of the Spanish nationality) for more than 3 years may recover their Spanish nationality by making an application at the consulate in their town of residence.
  • An individual who is born abroad to native Spaniards and does not sign an Act of Conservation (or acquire/renew their passport) between 18-21 years of age may recover their Spanish nationality by making an application at the consulate in their town of residence.
  • If an individual acquired Spanish nationality through naturalization (ex. through living in Spain for a certain period of time) and later in life loses that nationality (ex. Non-native Spaniards lose their Spanish nationality if they make exclusive use of the one they have renounced when acquiring Spanish nationality) for longer than 3 years, they are not able to recover their Spanish citizenship unless they reside in Spain for a period of one year. (Spain 16 Sept. 2021b)

Traductor Jurado indicates that an individual can request a birth certificate from the Civil Register for themselves or a family member (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019). The Ministry of Justice notes that "[l]egitimate interest to receive information" is "presumed to be held" by the individual who requests the birth certificate (Spain n.d.a). In contrast, Traductor Jurado indicates that a birth certificate may be requested by an individual on behalf of someone who is not a family relation, [translation] "as long as you justify it properly" (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019). According to the same source, the individual's request may be denied if the Civil Registry [translation] "considers the motivation to be insufficient" (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019). The Ministry of Justice notes that a certificate with an electronic seal of the Directorate General of Registries and Notaries can only be requested "by owners of the data identified using an electronic National Identification Card" (Spain n.d.a). Sources state that an individual will need authorization [from a judge (Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019)] to request a birth certificate for adoptions, persons who have changed their sex, persons affected by gender-based violence who have had to change their surname (Spain n.d.a; Traductor Jurado 11 Oct. 2019). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an immigration specialist from Larea & Co., a private law firm in Spain, stated that they are [translation] "not aware" whether judicial authorization is required for such cases (Larea & Co. 12 Aug. 2021).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation in Spain provides the following information regarding Civil Registers:

In accordance with Article 10 of the Civil Register Law, the Civil Register is made up from Municipal Registers by a first instance judge, assisted by the secretary; for Consular Registers, by the Consuls of Spain abroad and by the Central Civil Register.

Each consular area has a Civil Registration office. This body is divided into four sections: births and general, marriages, deaths, and guardians and legal representatives. It is made up from Municipal Registers by the first instance judge, assisted by the secretary; the Consular Registers, by the Consuls of Spain abroad, and the central Civil Register. The offices of each consular district submit a duplicate of the records made locally to the central Civil Register.

The most common procedures that Spanish citizens living abroad carry out in Consular Civil Registers are those relating to births, marriages, deaths and nationality. (Spain n.d.b)

[2] The procedure to request a birth certificate online is to change in September 2021; the website of the Ministry of Justice states that [translation] "as of September 2021, this tool will be gradually replaced by the new tool to request certificates from the Civil Register, for which it will be necessary to login using Clave or the Digital Certificate" (Spain n.d.c).

References

Abogado Amigo. 8 September 2014. Jesús P. López Pelaz. "Certificado de nacimiento: solicitud por internet." [Accessed 29 July 2021]

Abogado Amigo. N.d. "Abogado Amigo." [Accessed 29 July 2021]

Aguia Tramites. N.d.a. "Conoce más sobre Aguia Tramites." [Accessed 4 Aug. 2021]

Aguia Tramites. N.d.b. "Certificado de nacimiento de España." [Accessed 29 July 2021]

Certificados.pro. N.d. "Certificates & Documents from Spain." [Accessed 8 Sept. 2021]

Evergration. N.d. "Spanish Full Birth Certificate." [Accessed 28 July 2021]

Larea & Co. 12 August 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Registro Civil Trámites. 22 April 2020. "Cuanto tiempo tarda un Certificado de Nacimiento por Internet." [Accessed 29 July 2021]

Registro Civil Trámites. N.d. "Formulario de contacto.” [Accessed 7 Sept. 2021]

Spain. 16 September 2021a. Consulate of Spain in Montreal. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Spain. 16 September 2021b. Consulate of Spain in Montreal. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.

Spain. 28 July 2021. Consulate of Spain in Montreal. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Spain. 23 June 2021. Consulate General of Spain in Santo Domingo. "Requisitos para la solicitud de Primer Pasaporte o Renovación." [Accessed 9 Sept. 2021]

Spain. 22 May 2018. Consulado General de España en Toronto. "Inscripción de un nacimiento en Canadá." [Accessed 8 Sept. 2021]

Spain. N.d.a. Ministerio de Justicia. "Birth Certificate/Certification." [Accessed 7 September 2021]

Spain. N.d.b. Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación. "Civil Registry." [Accessed 19 Aug. 2021]

Spain. N.d.c. Ministerio de Justicio. "Certificado de Nacimiento." [Accessed 7 Sept. 2021]

Spain. N.d.d. Ministerio de Justicia. "Formalities: Birth Certificate/Certification." [Accessed 27 July 2021]

Spain. N.d.e. Ministerio de Justicia. "Birth Registration." [Accessed 7 Sept. 2021]

Spain. N.d.f. Consulate of Spain in Los Angeles. "Frequent Questions for Civil Register and Nationality." [Accessed 27 July 2021]

Traductor Jurado. 11 October 2019. "España. Guía para pedir tu Certificado de Nacimiento, legalizarlo y traducirlo a otro idioma." [Accessed 27 July 2021]

Traductor Jurado. N.d. "¿BUSCAS un Traductor Jurado?" [Accessed 7 Sept. 2021]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Certificados.pro; law firms in Spain (7); lawyer in Spain; Spain – Consulate in Los Angeles, Consulate in Toronto, Embassy in Ottawa, Registro Civil.

Internet sites, including: Abogados Extranjería y Nacionalidad; Abogados para Tus Deudas; Abogados Pérez Ortiz; Balcells Group; Beatríz Murillo Abogada; Citizens Advice Bureau Spain; Cristina Trámites; e-registrocivil.es; Larea & Co. International Legal Group; Perea Abogados; Portico Legal S.L.; Spain – Ayuntamiento España.

Attachments

  1. Spain. N.d. Ministerio de Justicia. Extracto de Nacimiento. Translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 27 July 2021]
  2. Spain. N.d. Registro Civil de Madrid. Certificado Literal de Nacimiento. Translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 27 July 2021]